Next time you have your house clean and your life is a placid sea of tranquil serenity, have your grandkids over for a sleepover. Both will soon implode before your startled eyes. Especially if It’s a multi-day weekend because of a school PD day. Especially if the Oilers are in the playoffs and a certain young hockey player wants his bedtime delayed to watch the action. Especially if the kids are two active boys.
Oh sure, you love these offspring of your offspring. And goodness knows you don’t see them nearly enough because of geographic distance. But, honestly, it is a shock to the system?physical and psychic?because of this interruption in routine.
You need to buy food not normally in the house (Eggos, yogurt, treats in all shapes, forms, colours, and degrees of saltiness). You need a plan for handling biohazard material aka poopy diapers. You need a boatload of kleenex and wipes. You need to dodge balls and other airborne missiles. You need to survive on less sleep.
The best wardrobe includes a striped sweater as you referee fights and mandate sharing. Comfy shoes, stretchy pants, and a hardhat also help.
Having an arsenal of toys, craft supplies, and diversions is essential if you want to get out alive and feeling that you were more wise, all-knowing mentor, and less WWE ref. Some of these items will be disposable dollar store trinkets with a short life. Others are the quality items saved from your own kids? youth. Original 1970s Star Wars figures and space ships have stood the test of time. John Deere machinery in all sizes lasts. That old Tupperware shape sorter toy is still one of my favourites and came in handy again this weekend. Being willing to download Primary Games onto my laptop kept Grady engaged. I just had to force stoppages to prevent him from slipping into total and absolute oblivion.
Playing with balloons inside and a ball outside helped burn off energy. Taking the kids to a nearby bridge to throw rocks into the swollen creek provides no end of fun. Keeping them from falling overboard is a serious, fulltime job. With the warmer weather and drier surfaces, a walk down our country road is planned. Maybe it’ll be a pussy willow cutting mission if we can reach them without hip waders. I always enforce a slowing down awareness of shiny rocks, interesting animal tracks, birdsong, and other natural wonders. The three deer on the lawn mesmerized Kade and Grady early one morning. These animal sightings are important for city kids. With all the water everywhere this spring Roy was able to video two beavers swimming and diving from about ten or twelve feet away. Un-freaking-believable. I’ve never seen that in all my life. Being able to share these types of activities with another generation is huge. And are surely memories in the making.
So even though we’re pooped out and the house is a disaster, It’s worth every minute from where I sit.
Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.